the light went on. I remember what “under the Law” means in the Office of the Privacy Commissioner.
(NOTE: List of RELATED postings at bottom)
There’s a BLIND SPOT that creates confusion. And down the garden path we go.
the word PRIVACY used in two different contexts has different meaning.
If you do not understand that, your expectations of where the path leads will likely be wrong.
Explain it this way:
You register a FOI (Freedom of Information – – a request for access to documents in Government and public sector institutions) with, for example, the Saskatchewan Information and Privacy Commissioner.
“Privacy” in that context is about our access to information about the self, that is held in government or public sector institutions.
“Privacy” in the context of the Charter Right to Privacy of Personal Information is about Constitutional Law that prohibits “the state” (the Government) from amassing detailed personal information on individuals in the society.
I could not figure out: why aren’t people and the media raising the Charter Right to Privacy of Personal Information? (StatsCan’s plan to get personal data through enforced “collaborations” with the private sector. Which they feel they have to do because of non-compliance by Canadians with handing over personal information to StatsCan.)
Non-compliance rates have been exposed. 2013-10 Lockheed Martin Census: StatsCan math is wrong on non-compliance. It’s 11%, not 2%. Under oath at the trial of Audrey Tobias.) In truth, non-compliance is higher than that. One year for example, the “Religion” of 12,000 Canadians was “Jedi” (from Star Wars)!
But never mind, “The Privacy Commissioner is investigating“, we can relax – – it’s a slam-dunk. But it’s not. And it’s potentially dangerous if the Privacy Commissioner issues a report saying StatsCan operations are within the Law.
The Privacy Commissioner operates “under the Law“. There’s the nub of it. WHICH Laws? It’s the “Privacy Act” and one other. I skimmed the Privacy Act – – it’s more about Access to personal information held in Govt Depts.
The Privacy Commissioner more or less frames the debate in media interviews;
– the Charter Right to Privacy of Personal Information does not fall within his terms of reference.
I think that’s part of why you don’t see it in the media coverage.
Citizens are the ones who have to insert the Charter Right into the debate. Scroll down, at bottom:
A SMALL, IMPORTANT ACTION “REPORT A CONCERN” ON-LINE, TO THE PRIVACY COMMISSIONER
Large numbers of people balk at StatsCan’s efforts to obtain personal information (and have been, for years).
Another reason that the Charter Right is largely omitted from the public debate: many Canadians do not know, or are not clear on whether such a Right exists. I doubt that it’s taught in schools.
You might think that an investigation by the Privacy Commissioner will surely put an end to StatsCan’s plan to demand personal banking information from the Banks, until you realize
“under the Law” means “under the 2 Acts of Parliament that govern the operations of the Privacy Commissioner”.
About the OPC
The Privacy Commissioner of Canada is an Agent of Parliament whose mission is to protect and promote privacy rights. The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) oversees compliance with the Privacy Act, which covers the personal information-handling practices of federal government departments and agencies, and the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), Canada’s federal private-sector privacy law.
The Charter Right to Privacy of Personal Information is NOT a Law administered by the Privacy Commissioner.
I only skimmed the Privacy Act. This phrase is representative:
- 8(1) A request for access to personal information
WHY are the media reports saying nothing about the Charter Right to Privacy of Personal Information in this debate?
There’s a blind spot created by using the same word to describe two different things.
– – – – – – –
Links from the website for the Privacy Commissioner:
Announcement – October 31, 2018
I can think this (an investigation) will solve the problem – – StatsCan will not be allowed to order the banks to hand over people’s banking data.
– – – – – – –
From Commissioner shares his views on the collection of financial information by Statistics Canada
Announcement – November 8, 2018
Indeed, Statistics Canada regularly consults us on the privacy implications of many of their initiatives; it (StatsCan) is always open to a dialogue and often accepts our recommendations.
After having received complaints related to Statistics Canada and its collection of personal information from private sector organizations, I have opened an investigation.
I am at liberty to tell you that I have received 52 complaints on this matter as of this morning.
A SMALL, IMPORTANT ACTION
“REPORT A CONCERN”
ON-LINE, TO THE PRIVACY COMMISSIONER
don’t know if our network is large enough to insert the Charter Right into the debate. But let’s give it a try. In a small office, large volumes are hard to handle. Quality of input, not quantity, counts!
I talked with a woman at the Office of the Privacy Commissioner who recommended (as I understand, the Report of the Commissioner will incorporate the Concerns we submit):
Privacy Commissioner of Canada
Report a Concern
Notice: This form is intended for individuals who want to share their comments with us but do not require a response from our Office.
(Maximum 4096 characters)
Tell the Privacy Commissioner your thoughts. Might be helpful – – some ideas you can copy and change to suit yourself.:
- Canadians have a Charter Right to Privacy of Personal Information. OR
- The Charter Right should be in your Report on StatsCan and the Banks. OR
- This is what our Charter Right says: “In fostering the underlying values of dignity, integrity and autonomy, it is fitting that s. 8 of the Charter should seek to protect a biographical core of personal information which individuals in a free and democratic society would wish to maintain and control from dissemination to the state.” OR
- The Charter Right to Privacy of Personal Information says that StatsCan can’t do what’s it’s trying to do. Constitutional Law is higher than the Privacy Act and all other Acts of Parliament. OR
- Under the Law, if StatsCan wants to get the personal information of citizens from the Banks, it has to make a successful application to the Courts to grant them a Section 1 over-ride. In Court StatsCan has to satisfy the criteria set out for the Govt to take away a Charter Right of all citizens.
Don’t forget the “COMMENTS” below.
In my book Data and Goliath, I write about the value of privacy. I talk about how it is essential for political liberty and justice, and for commercial fairness and equality. I talk about how it increases personal freedom and individual autonomy, and how the lack of it makes us all less secure. But this is probably the most important argument as to why society as a whole must protect privacy: it allows society to progress.
We know that surveillance has a chilling effect on freedom. People change their behavior when they live their lives under surveillance. They are less likely to speak freely and act individually. They self-censor. They become conformist. This is obviously true for government surveillance, but is true for corporate surveillance as well. We simply aren’t as willing to be our individual selves when others are watching.